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Brothers and sisters - being the oldest

Brother; sister; family; relationships; youngest; eldest; middle; sibling; oldest; first born; little brother; little sister; big brother; big sister ;


If you are the first child in a family, you have had the undivided attention of parents, grandparents and other family members. It can be quite a shock when a baby comes along. No matter how well your parents have prepared you for the new arrival, it doesn't take long before you start to really notice how your life has changed.

Being oldest in the family

What some 'first born' little kids thought…

  • siblingsI'm not 'special' any more.
  • The new baby gets all the attention.
  • I wished I could 'send it back'.
  • Mum and dad don't seem to have time for me.
  • I like it when I get to hold the baby.
  • I’m glad that I will always have another kid in the house.

What some 'first born' older kids thought….

  • I always have to mind the baby.
  • The 'baby' gets all the attention from everyone.
  • The 'baby' stops me from doing what I want. ("Just look after….," "Take little sister with you…," "If baby sees you doing that and tries to copy, it could be dangerous…")
  • I can't have what I want because now there are two of us to buy things for.
  • 'Baby' gets away with things while I'm expected to be more 'grown up'.
  • I'm the oldest and I have 2 younger brothers. When I want mum to read me a story one of them always cries. It's not fair.
  • I like being a big brother.
  • I pass on my favourite clothes to my little sister, but if I want to keep my toys I let her play with them and she knows that they are mine.


You may feel angry that the baby has changed your life and maybe a bit guilty that you feel this way. Everyone has feelings like this from time to time. They don't mean that there is anything wrong with you.

What to do
Talk with your parents and tell them how you are feeling. No, they won't 'send the baby back', but it will help them to understand how you are feeling. And they can do other things to help you feel better if they know you are sad. Being 'naughty' to get their attention, or being angry with the baby usually only makes things worse, because your parents won't know what is really going on in you.

Good things about brothers and sisters

Of course there are some good things about having a baby brother or sister.

  • siblingsYou get to play with a cute baby.
  • All your friends want to play with the baby.
  • As the baby grows, you become an important person in her life.
  • You will be able to teach her things you know.
  • You have someone to talk to or play with.
  • You will have someone who knows you well for the rest of your life.
  • You will be able to stick up for each other.
  • You get to stay up later at night than the baby does.
  • You will be the first one to do most things.
  • You get new clothes, toys etc.
  • You have someone to share with. As they get older they will have the kinds of things you want to borrow (it won't always be that you have to share your stuff).
  • You can have fun together!

Another good thing is that the baby will grow up, although you will always be the eldest.

Your mum's having a baby
Won't that be just great?
A brother or a sister to be your little mate
"What would you like?" asked gran,
When father came to tell her.
The child looked up and said,
"I'd prefer an um-ber-ella."


What some kids said about being the oldest

  • siblingsSometimes it's great being the oldest because I get to go out more.
  • I get to be in charge when mum's not there.
  • I always have someone to play computer games with.
  • I get to do things before my brother, like going on rides where you have to be big enough. I'll get my driving licence before him too.
  • Sometimes it's not so great when he gets into trouble and I get grounded too for letting him. It's not my fault that he won't listen to me.
  • I don't like giving my old clothes to my brother.
  • We always fight and I'm the one who gets into trouble, even when he starts it.
  • I never get any time to myself. My sister always wants to use my things.
  • I have to share a room and I want to have my own stuff just for me, but I always have to share.
  • I always have to set an example.
  • My parents are not as strict with my younger brother as they are with me. Maybe it's because I am a girl?
  • I have fun with my little sister - she is so cute.
  • I like teaching my brother how to do things like throwing and catching a ball.

Dr Kate says:

Dr Kate

"I guess at times it can be pretty tough being the oldest but it can also be good. There are times when it may not seem too great being the youngest either."

 The trick is to learn how to sort out little problems before they become big, especially if you share a room! Our topic Family relationships - brothers and sisters has some good ideas you might try.


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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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